"Meeting Challenges: Strengthening the Direct Support Workforce and Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion"

custom image

Commissioner Kerri E. Neifeld of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) will discuss how New York State is working to stabilize, professionalize and strengthen its direct support workforce following the pandemic, while also advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the developmental disabilities field. The Commissioner will provide an overview of federal and state-funded investments in the direct care workforce, as well as agency goals to address parity and promote equity within that diverse workforce. Additionally, the Commissioner will share the agency vision and the commitment to accomplish these goals in the agency and throughout the field.

Presented By

Kerri Neifeld serves as the Commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) following her nomination by Governor Kathy Hochul in early November of 2021 and confirmation in February 2022. Prior to her nomination, Neifeld most recently served as Assistant Secretary for Human Services & Mental Hygiene in the governor's office.

Before working in the governor’s office, Neifeld was Assistant Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) where she managed the Division of Shelter Oversight and Compliance. Neifeld joined OTDA as Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner while serving as an Excelsior Service Fellow, before being promoted to Assistant Deputy Commissioner.

Prior to joining the Excelsior Service Fellowship Program, Neifeld was a Fellow on Women & Public Policy at Rockefeller College's Center for Women in Government & Civil Society. A passionate advocate for others, Neifeld also worked as a Project Manager at the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, a Child Protective Services Caseworker and a Foster Care Caseworker as well as a Youth Care Worker at WAIT House Homeless Youth Shelter. Neifeld plans to use her years of public service experience to inform new and innovative ways to support and serve people with developmental disabilities. Neifeld holds a B.A. from Elmira College and an M.S.W. from the University at Albany School of Social Welfare.